Wish lists are a time-honored tradition. Around Christmas or a child’s birthday, they delineate what gifts they want, sometimes in order of preference. More recently “bucket lists” have become like wish lists for adults. Instead of detailing what gifts they desire, it details what they want to accomplish or do in their lives.
As Christians, we know that we need to filter these lists through the “Lord-willing” paradigm. We hold these things loosely because we know that God might have other plans. However, sometimes holding them loosely may not be enough. When God plans interrupts ours, do we merely accept His plans or do we delight in wanting what He wants? In other words, are we more focused on wanting what He wants than we are on achieving our own goals and ambitions? Is He more important than our plans?
This doesn’t just pertain when what is on our lists are bad things – or even morally neutral things. Sometimes they might be very good things. We want to be married, and God says “not now” or maybe “not ever.” We want to have children (which Scripture makes clear are a blessing), yet God desires another path for us. We may want to embark on some great service or ministry, and God says “no.” All of these may be good things in and of themselves, and God may use them to accomplish great things in people’s lives, but it is up to God to decide whether they are good things for us. We must recognize that He is the standard for goodness, not only theoretically but in His provision in our lives as well. Therefore, we must not only trust Him, but learn to desire the things that He has planned over our own.
This is not easy. Nor does it mean that we shouldn’t ask God for the things that we want (See Lk. 18:1-8). It does mean, however, that in asking for what we want, we commit ahead of time to delighting in what He provides, knowing that what He has prepared for our lives is far better than what we could design.